At the 1983 Grammy Awards, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis was honoured both as a jazz and a classical musician, something unique at that time. An outstanding ability in both genres has been his trademark to this day, as can be heard to great effect in this concert in which, together with his band, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, he premieres his Swing Symphony with the Philharmoniker conducted by Sir Simon Rattle.
Commissioned by the Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation, this composition is Marsalis’s third symphonic work. With this piece his intention was no less than to trace the long and rich history of jazz. Just how spectacularly he succeeded could be read in the Hamburger Abendblatt: “Fast and furious bebop phrases delivered faultlessly by the violins; tricky brass passages with perfect timing and no stiffness: a lot of first-class musicians had a load of fun with this and each other.” This concert performance was followed by yet another exciting interpretation as part of the Berliner Philharmoniker’s Education Programme which is also available in the Digital Concert Hall.
There is, on the other hand, a premiere in this recording with Simon Rattle’s interpretation of Stravinsky’s ballet music Petrushka. Together with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Rattle has often performed other scores by the composer – Le Sacre du printemps in particular – and this with tremendous success. This concert was the first time they played this work together, the story of the ill-starred Petrushka who first loses the object of his affection and then his life at a Russian Shrovetide fair.